Damage control​

Hi, guys. So my last blog post was a little “dark and twisty,” as Meredith Grey would say (I love Grey’s Anatomy!). I apologize for that. I needed to get that out and put it on the table before I could even think clearly enough to write this blog post. This one will be better I promise.

Two nights ago was really hard for me. I binged. Hard. I felt so sick after, and the guilt and shame I felt after the binge were immensely overpowering. It was a lot for me.

I’m still trying to understand it all, but I think I know what caused the binge.

Boredom.

I was bored from not doing anything after the little workout I did earlier in the day. I tried to fill my time with meaningful things to do that would fulfill me more than food would, but I got bored after a while and started getting hungry, and then the next thing I knew was that I was eating, and completely dissociated.

I know from experience that this is not good for me. I’m still trying to identify at what point I need to step away from my mind and find a sense of calm within myself so that I don’t binge. But that will come in time; sooner rather than later I hope.

So, how can I make this a positive post rather than a negative one? Well, to be honest with you I really don’t know. This is just another “thing” I have to deal with on top of everything else, so I’m trying to hold on to sanity as much as possible. I’m just hoping the next day will be better. I’m hoping I can be free soon.

-E

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Repeat offender

It happened again. Guilt dripping from the corners of my mouth. I promised myself it wouldn’t happen again. But it did.

I dissociated.

And then I binged.

The shame wells up inside of me, and I slowly retreat into myself. Thoughts of self-hate rushing through my mind make it so difficult to breathe.

I feel like throwing up.

The sickening image of a girl in a youtube video shoving her fingers down her throat over the toilet crosses my mind. I don’t want to be like her. I don’t need another eating disorder.

I’m a repeat offender, a repeat binger. It kills me inside to say it. I never wanted to be this way. But I am.

Hatred, disgust, guilt, shame. Emotions I am more than familiar with swirl within my heart. It’s too much for me.

So I dissociate further.

I’m a repeat offender; doing ten to life for a crime I wish I didn’t commit.

-E

Sundays

It’s May. The spring flowers are in full bloom, and the air is filled with a scent of freshly brewed coffee. The sun is shining brightly over the city. Spring has finally settled in nicely, and people are out enjoying their Sunday. Talking, laughing, planning, just being in the moment. How fascinating this is to me.

I tousle my hair for the hundredth time since I took a shower this morning and straighten my maxi skirt. Breathe, Elena, breathe. It’s just a coffee shop I tell myself. I patter up the stone stairs and pull open the door. I am immediately wafted with delicious smells of coffee, breakfast food, and baked goods.

It’s a cute little shop, retro, and hip. The patterned walls with artwork displayed on them throughout the place and cushioned couches with small tables give a homey feel to the ambiance. Not to mention the tunes playing on the speakers. Not too out of date but old enough to give it a vintage feel as well.

I enjoy coming here just to sit and relax and enjoy a hot beverage or some food and read or write. It is comforting and spacious, busy and empty, loud and quiet, happy and playful; but most of all it is calming. The people that surround me seem at ease with the place and with each other. Chatting lightly about anything and everything, enjoying the company around them. Delightful.

I order my food and my favorite tea at the front and then sit down in the far corner near the window. I open up my laptop and begin to write this chapter. With breakfast in my belly and a tea close by I type what comes to mind.

This for me is happiness. This is what Sundays should be like all the time.

What makes this experience so great is the fact that I didn’t need someone to be there to validate me or my decisions. I am hanging out with myself. Cool. I can handle being in a public place alone without much anxiety. This is a huge accomplishment, and I could not be prouder. Good job, me. You’re killing it!

Overcome your fears and they will not control you. Be fierce, my darlings, be unstoppable.

-E

Sunday Thoughts

Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 14, 2017

3:46pm

I’m sitting in a cafe on Mother’s Day with my mom. She reads the newspaper as I type this. We both sip our lemon water simultaneously. The more I look at her, the more I see parts of myself. It’s an interesting thing to experience, especially for me. I’ve always seen more of myself in my dad than in my mom. Funny how that is. You think you resemble one of your parents more than the other and then BAM! You look at your other parent, and you realize you’re more like them than the other. And then you’re all confused but accept the fact that you are half of each parent equally while continuing to wonder who you resemble the most. It’s head spinning I know.

As I’ve mentioned twice before (thrice now jeez), it’s Mother’s Day today. My family and I are out, and we have already had brunch at a cute local all-day breakfast place called ‘Sunset Grill.’ Food update: UHH YUMM! All of you better go check it out if there’s a location close to you because they have excellent food there. Perhaps a suggestion for your next meal. The French Connection (eggs and potatoes) with bacon or sausage, french toast with butter and maple syrup, topped off with a warm cup of coffee. TRY IT; IT’S DELICIOUS.

Sorry, I got a little off topic there with the food. Can you tell I’m in love with breakfast? Clearly… Anyways my family is currently sitting in a coffee shop enjoying each other’s company sipping on lemon water and laughing about my father’s shoe size (don’t ask, it’s an inside joke no one will get). We are alive and happy. As I’m typing away here, I want to mention that our day did not start out like this. We had a rough morning. But hey, don’t all families experience this sometimes? I’m sure of it. The point though is that we got past it and had a pleasant afternoon and it is continuing to be beautiful as the minutes’ tick by.

Well, we are on the move again, so I am typing this on my phone so as to not lose any of this sound material (this is debatable). We are headed to a cute little family-owned bakery that one of my siblings works at called Con Gusto (we are Italian and all about the food clearly). We are getting fruit danishes and chocolate croissants. I can vouch for both of these desserts and say that they are pretty darn good. Made fresh daily and super light and buttery. They practically melt in your mouth (I am now hungry again, thanks to me). If you live in my area, check it out it’s a lovely place to get sweets! Oh, and bread of course. Who could forget bread? They have excellent bread there too.

So I meant this blog post to be about family and Mother’s Day, but it turns out it has become all about food. Weird right? Well yes in a way it is but my family loves to eat so if you make the connection, my family and food are pretty close to each other. We hold food very near and dear to our hearts (more like in our tummies but you get the idea).

Today has been a wonderfully pleasant day. I did not think it would turn out this way from the difficult time we had this morning. Oh, boy was I wrong, and thankfully so. This Mother’s Day has taught me to be thankful for the family I have and the people who love and care about me. They are the ones who will stick by me, especially my mom. She is a strong woman, and I don’t know how she does it (obviously with yummy food). Her dedication and patience with myself and our family have been immense, and we are so blessed to have her. So the rest of this blog post is going to be dedicated to my mom.

Mom, thank you. We appreciate all that you do for us, and we are forever in debt to your kindness and love. We hope you have had a fantastic Mother’s Day with us and we wish you much more. Please don’t forget us in your will (just me not the others mom). We love you.

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Here are some good photos of the French Connection dish I was talking about earlier. Enjoy, and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there!

-E

Self-love and Acceptance

To love your body for what it is and what it does for you is something that many people struggle with. In fact, I have only met one person who is okay and happy with themselves in my entire life. This is something that pains me because as a beautiful and talented human species, we should love ourselves for what our bodies are able to do.

Self-love. The act of loving your own person without question or judgment. Acceptance. The act of knowing what your body is capable of, and understanding what it is not able to do, and being okay with that; whatever that is.

For me, self-love and acceptance of myself have been a major struggle throughout my entire life. I never liked how I looked or what I wore or how I was. I still don’t. I look in the mirror and cringe at the fat that hangs from my stomach because I can’t control my binge-eating disorder.

My relationship with food has never been a good one. Ever since I was little, it has been a constant battle between eating the right foods and having control of the portions on my plate. It has also been a humiliating experience. Family members telling you to stop eating because you’re getting fat, family members taking food away from you because they know you’ll eat it. Family members saying you got bigger and need to lose weight. Family members always saying something about your weight or the food your eating or telling you to exercise or looking at you funny and lying to you about how you look. Yes, I have had it all.

I’m crying as I’m writing this because it is so painful. I have so much self-hatred for my impulsivity and lack of control with food. I have such a hard time admitting to myself and others that I need help with this. Although, just because I need help with it, Does NOT give people the right or the ability to say something to me about it. Those words that those family members said stung like acid in my eyes.

I know I have to accept myself the way I am at some point but I don’t know when that will be or how it will happen. I guess I’m just going to have to play the waiting game on that one. For now, I think I’m going to focus on self-love. I have a book about it, so I’m going to make an effort to read it and try to follow some of the suggestions that might be written in this book. I have yet to even crack it open and look at the inside cover. Not a good start but I’ll get there at some point… At least I hope I will.

To love yourself is a beautiful thing. I wish I could love all of me, but so far, I have only just started accepting minor imperfections of myself. I won’t go into details but accepting these imperfections is a HUGE step for me. I am so proud that I am able to be okay with these little perfect mistakes that are part of me and make me who I am.

Below are some photos that I believe are a fantastic start to spreading awareness about body positivity and self-worth.

“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress simultaneously.” – Wear Your Label

I have shared these images previously on social media to convey a message that it’s okay to not be a size zero. It’s also okay to have cellulite and stretch marks. It’s all okay. And if you are a size zero and everywhere in between, I want you to know that it’s okay too. You are beautiful at any size. I am not a size zero, and I will probably never be a size zero, and that’s okay! I have friends that are a size zero, and I love them with all my heart. I also have friends that are not a size zero, and I also love them with all my heart.

For me, self-image is a large part of my insecurity, depression and social anxiety (thanks for that, BPD). But even though I don’t like what I see in the mirror, that does NOT negate the fact that I have beautiful qualities. The same goes for you. You are beautiful even though your eyes and your brain are trying to tell you that you’re not.

SO DON’T LISTEN TO THEM. THEY’RE BOTH LIARS.

Listen to me right now, at this very moment, you are the oldest you have ever been. You are also the most beautiful and developed that you have ever been. Do NOT let your mind wander to negative self-talk. Control your mind to think good thoughts about yourself and do NOT relapse. This is where the real work comes in. Loving yourself is hard work! Put in the time and do whatever you need to do to feel okay with yourself. You will not regret it, I promise.

Xoxo

-E

Shame

She stuffs her face until she can’t breathe anymore. The food is barely chewed, more so swallowed in large amounts and in quick motions to try to finish it before someone sees her eating. She hates when people watch her eat. She feels like they’re staring at her and judging her. The more she eats, the more she craves. The more she craves, the more self-conscious she gets. The more self-conscious she gets, the harder it is for her to accept herself the way she is.

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“Binge eating disorder is a severe, life-threatening and treatable eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating. It is the most common eating disorder in the United States.” (National Eating Disorders Association, 2017)

Binge-eating. It’s an eating disorder that I have struggled with over the past year now. I was in remission from an episode of binge-eating a few years ago, but I have unfortunately relapsed into my old ways of self-destruction. This is a very sensitive topic for me to write about. It hurts me to the core of my being to share this, but I feel as though many other people who struggle or have struggled with an eating disorder would be able to relate.

I hate my body. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to change it to look as perfect as a model’s. That’s my Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) in one of its many forms presenting itself inside my mind. But because of this total self-image distortion, I have continuously had a rough time with food. It is my greatest and most difficult vice to get rid of. No matter how much I try, I am not able to get rid of it forever. It keeps coming back, sneaking up on me when I least expect it; especially when I am triggered and find myself crippled by my emotions in an episode.

I cannot tell you how much this hurts me to say, but I have no self-control when it comes to food. I’m cringing at the fact that I just wrote that. This is what I hide behind my smile and my laugh every day. This is what hurts me deeply; slices right through my core and binds me to self-hatred. This eating disorder paired with my BPD has made my life almost unbearable.

I want to get better. I want to be Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) free. I want to be able to not have to worry about what people think of me as I eat in public. I want to be able to choose the right portion of food for my stomach so that I don’t over-indulge in foods that I should not regularly be eating. I want to have a healthy relationship with food.

Some of you may be thinking, ‘All this talk but no action.’ I know. I’m trying my best. Getting rid of an eating disorder is harder than it looks. You can’t just stop; sometimes you don’t even realize you’re in an episode and do it; it’s a mental reaction to pain; it takes years to overcome; many people have it.

IT’S GOING TO BE OKAY.

To my fellow sufferers, we will get there. We will overcome our eating disorders. We may relapse, but as long as we get back on track, we will be okay. Do not be afraid, I accept you and love you for who you are, flaws and all. I am here suffering with you, and I will not let you down.

Xoxo

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Below are some statistics are taken from the National Eating Disorders Association website that gives a vivid description of how severe Binge-Eating Disorder can affect people:

  • “A 2007 study asked 9,282 English-speaking Americans about a variety of mental health conditions, including eating disorders. The results, published in Biological Psychiatry, found that 3.5% of women and 2.0% of men had binge eating disorder during their life. This makes BED more than three times more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. BED is also more common than breast cancer, HIV, and schizophrenia.
  • When researchers followed a group of 496 adolescent girls for 8 years until they were 20, they found: 5.2% of the girls met criteria for DSM5 anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder. When the researchers included nonspecific eating disorder symptoms, a total of 13.2% of the girls had suffered from a DSM-5 eating disorder by age 20.
  • Combining information from several sources, Eric Stice and Cara Bohon found that
    Between 0.2% and 3.5% of females and 0.9% and 2.0% of males will develop binge eating disorder. Subthreshold binge eating disorder occurs in 1.6% of adolescent girls.
  • Research estimates that 28.4% of people with current BED are receiving treatment for their disease. 43.6% of individuals with BED at some point in their lives will receive treatment.
  • BED often begins in the late teens or early 20s, although it has been reported in both young children and older adults.
  • Approximately 40% of those with binge eating disorder are male.
  • Three out of ten individuals looking for weight loss treatments show signs of BED.”

“BED is one of the newest eating disorders formally recognized in the DSM5. Before the most recent revision in 2013, BED was listed as a subtype of EDNOS (now referred to as OSFED). The change is necessary because some insurance companies will not cover eating disorder treatment without a DSM diagnosis. The formal diagnostic criteria are:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
    -Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
    -A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
  • The binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
    -Eating much more rapidly than normal.
    -Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
    -Eating significant amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
    -Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating.
    -Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
  • Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
  • The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.
  • The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (e.g., purging) as in bulimia nervosa and does not occur exclusively during bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.” (National Eating Disorders Association, 2017)

-E

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Source: National Eating Disorders Association. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/binge-eating-disorder.